I recently heard that until this past Saturday the infamous Admiral Theatre (Caution: not a work-friendly link) was offering free lap dances to anyone who brought in a new, unwrapped toy worth $25 or more. I thought it was pretty funny, but it was the hilarious SNL sketch that gave me the idea for this week's "Did You know, Chicago?" feature.
The Admiral Theatre is over 80 years old, and whereas the interior is obviously quite different, the exterior remains largely the same. It was originally a vaudeville house that opened in 1927, hosting comedy acts, song and dance acts, burlesque and films.
In 1942 the Admiral was acquired by Balaban and Katz. This theater corporation operated hundreds of theaters in the Midwest, including famous spots like the Chicago Theatre, the Riviera Theatre, the Uptown Theatre and the Congress Theater.
The theater weathered the demise of vaudeville and the Great Depression pretty well, but unfortunately it was shut down in the late 1950s. In 1969 the Admiral opened as an all-cartoon theater, but that didn't work out either and it closed again soon after.
It was the golden age of porn that brought the theater to what it is today. (I didn't realize there was a golden age of porn, but you learn something new every day.) The theater opened again in the 1970s showing nothing but porn. Classics like "Deep Throat" and "Debbie Does Dallas" made their Chicago debut at the Admiral Theatre.
It wasn't until the 1990s that the naked ladies became a part of the Admiral's offerings. However, due to a Chicago ordinance that bans the sale of alcohol in any venue that allows full nudity, the theater doesn't have a bar. Which means anyone over 18 can get in.
Seriously, watch the sketch. I don't find SNL to be very funny anymore, but there's nothing like having famous comedians making fun of a Chicago stripclub to really make you feel proud.